St. Anthony's Andrew Wicik in the CHSAA state semifinals against...

St. Anthony's Andrew Wicik in the CHSAA state semifinals against St. Joseph Collegiate of Buffalo on Friday, Nov. 10, 2023. Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy

St. Anthony’s boys soccer saw its 2022 season end with a CHSAA state final loss to St. Joseph’s Collegiate (Buffalo).

Three hundred sixty-two days later in the CHSAA state semifinals, fortune flipped in the Friars’ favor.

On a free kick a few yards above the 18-yard box, midfielder John Oualaalou struck a perfect ball into the scrum of players. Forward Vincent Dentrone was in the right place to receive it,  heading the ball in to give St. Anthony’s the first score with 35:10 remaining.

Dentrone’s goal proved to be the difference as St. Anthony’s avenged last year’s defeat with a 2-0 win over the Marauders in Friday night’s CHSAA state semifinal at Belson Stadium at St. John’s University.

“It feels really good,” Dentrone said. “It was the whole team effort, though. Very nice cross from Johnny Oualaalou … it wasn’t just me, it was the whole team.”

St. Anthony’s (18-5) will meet Regis at 4:15 p.m. Sunday at St. John’s for a chance at its first CHSAA state title since 2019.

“We came into this, we had some unfinished business, OK,” St. Anthony’s coach Don Corrao said. “Last year was tough to swallow, but you saw the way we came out tonight. That was one heck of a win.”

The first half was scoreless, though St. Anthony’s was the much stronger team early. The Friars peppered six shots on goal in the first 40 minutes, each saved by Marauders goalie Ian Burgos. Burgos finished with eight saves.

The Friars doubled their lead with 22:52 left, as defender Nicholas Ferrara’s long pass found forward Dean Muratore, who headed the ball into the right side of the net.

“We came back for revenge,” Ferrara said.

The Friars allowed just one shot on goal, a dribbler that was swallowed up by goalie Cole Lawrence with about 12 minutes left. St. Anthony’s has not allowed a goal in five games since Oct. 21.

“We have a puppy in the goal, Cole Lawrence is a sophomore,” Corrao said. “He’s been terrific, defense has been stout.”

“They’re the life of the team, defense wins games,” Dentrone added.

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